Home Wire Transfers What is a Multi-Currency Account?

What is a multi-currency account?

For businesses and individuals frequently operating on an international basis, constantly having to exchange money into different currencies can be an expensive process. One solution to this problem is a multi-currency account, making it easier and more cost-effective to hold money in multiple currencies all in one place. This article takes an in-depth look into this kind of account and why it might be a good option for you. Alternatively, if you’re interested in transferring money internationally, take a look at out international bank transfers and international wire transfers guide.

Updated: 03/06/2021
Read time: 6 minutes
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What are multi-currency accounts?

Multi-currency accounts allow users to hold money in multiple foreign currencies within the same account. They are ideal for anyone with multinational expenses and commitments, providing a more cost-effective way of dealing with several different currencies. These accounts can be a great solution for companies of all sizes, as well as globetrotting individuals, who are searching for advantageous deals on foreign exchange.

Multi-currency accounts are increasingly popular features offered by virtual banks, providing a more efficient and accessible way of managing your money from your phone. As global politics continues to affect market exchange rates, more and more people look to reliable multi-currency bank accounts to counter this.

What are the main features of a multi-currency bank account?

Key features that make multi-currency bank accounts so appealing include:

Lower fees
Ease of use
Online banking

Multi-currency accounts will typically come with lower transfer fees than if you were to send and receive money in individual accounts with separate currencies.

Who is going to benefit from a multi-currency account?

Multi-currency accounts can be an appealing option to a wide range of people and businesses. This type of account can be useful for:

  • Businesses engaging in international trade, including imports and exports
  • Businesses/individuals selling goods across borders
  • Freelancers working with clients in other countries
  • Businesses working with freelancers in other countries
  • E-commerce retailers trading internationally online
  • Frequent travellers who often need to access money in different currencies
  • Migrants and expats with expenses in multiple currencies (check our list of the best international bank for expats to learn more)

What are the benefits of a multi-currency account?

For anyone dealing with foreign currencies on a regular basis, you’ll already know how frustrating it can be frequently paying for transfer fees and unfair exchange rates. The main benefits of a multi-currency account address these issues:

✓ This type of account enables you to hold your money in different currencies all in one place with more favourable exchange rate opportunities

✓ You can make more cost-effective online purchases when shopping with international retailers

✓ You can send and receive money in foreign currencies for lower fees (check our guide on making cheap wire transfer to learn more)

✓ If you frequently deal with different currencies, you can see all of your funds in one place

What is the best type of multi-currency account for me?

There are many multi-currency accounts available, and some will be suited more to your needs than others. Consider why you need this type of account and what features appeal most to your needs, and then take a look at the following multi-currency accounts to see if any would be a good fit for you.

OFX

OFX offer a global currency account that enables you to send and receive money in the foreign currencies you do business in. The main benefits are that you can send and receive money like a local, as well as connecting your account to local payment gateways such as Stripe and Amazon marketplace and automating payments to vendors, suppliers, and for monthly subscriptions etc.

The global currency account with OFX promises bank-beating rates when you’re moving money between foreign currencies.

 

Wise, formerly TransferWise

Wise has a multi-currency account targeted towards expats, travellers, and freelancers. The account supports 50 foreign currencies currently with instant conversions when you need to move your money around.

The account also comes with a MasterCard debit card that you can use to make payments like a local in foreign currencies, as well as making free ATM withdrawals (up to £200 a month). Wise is known for its excellent digital focus and has an easy-to-use app that allows for 24/7 access to your account.

WorldFirst

WorldFirst has a World Account that enables you to open multiple foreign currency accounts on the same day. The company boasts no opening fees, no annual fees, and no minimum transaction limit.

The transfer provider also has 24/7 access via their app, and targets mostly importing and exporting businesses, international business services, and marketplace sellers. You should note, however, that WorldFirst is not currently available in the US.

Revolut

Revolut has a multi-currency account that enables you to hold and transfer money in 28 foreign currencies. The highlighted benefits of this account are easy local transfers, no hidden fees, and more competitive exchange rates compared to single-currency bank transfers.

This account is mostly targetted towards businesses dealing with international transactions on a regular basis.

What fees might be associated with multi currency accounts?

You may incur some fees with a multi-currency account, although it really depends on the account you choose to have. Some fees you may want to be on the lookout for include:

  • Monthly services fees
  • Fees for sending international payments
  • Any markups on the exchange rate
  • Charges for receiving payments
  • Fees for domestic transfers

How safe are multi-currency bank accounts?

As with any standard bank account, your multi-currency account will be regulated by authorities of the country where the account was issued. For example, if you open a multi-currency account in the UK, it will be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). When deciding on which provider to bank with, it is important to check your money is also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Some of the newer “challenger-banks” are covered by bigger underlying banks and these institutions will be the ones safeguarding your money. This is no reason to write them off, as these new players can offer flexible features which are unavailable elsewhere. For information on how your money is safeguarded, check the FAQs section of your chosen provider.

Bottom line: do you need a multi currency account?

Overall, a multi-currency account is certainly not something everyone needs – but if you are a business or individual frequently managing multiple currencies, it may be worth considering.

The main benefit of multi-currency accounts is that they make moving money across borders easier, cheaper, and faster, making this a good option for businesses frequently sending and receiving money abroad and looking to make a saving on fees and exchange rate markups.

If you’re looking to send money internationally on a one-off or infrequent basis, however, a multi-currency account may not be the best option for you. Instead, perhaps take a look at our comparison tool to find the best money transfer operator to send your money abroad.

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Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin is the content writer for MoneyTransfers.com. With an English degree from the University of Nottingham and over 5 years’ experience freelancing in the personal finance niche, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers accessible and easy to understand for all. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Yasmin on her yoga mat or planning her next escape to the mountains.

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